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Data: New American Economy; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

New data provided to Axios spells out just how outsized a role immigrants play on the high- and low-skilled ends of the economy keeping Americans alive and fed during the coronavirus crisis.

By the numbers: Immigrants make up an estimated 17% of the overall U.S. workforce. But the analysis by New American Economy (NAE) shows they're more than one in four doctors, nearly half the nation's taxi drivers and chauffeurs and a clear majority of farm workers.

  • Reporting to work in hospitals, restaurant kitchens, cabs or the fields — for jobs deemed "essential" by the government — many documented and undocumented workers are putting themselves at higher risk of COVID-19 infections.

Be smart: The share of immigrants in some health care roles are higher in states that have been hit hardest by the virus.

  • More than a third of California nurses are immigrants, as well as 29% of nurses in New York and New Jersey, according to NAE data.

Between the lines: A large percentage of farm workers, who help maintain food supplies, are unauthorized immigrants, as the New York Times reported. 

  • Immigrants make up a small percentage of delivery workers nationwide, but one-third of delivery workers in New York are unauthorized immigrants, NAE director of quantitative research Andrew Lim told Axios.
  • The $2 trillion aid package does not include assistance for unauthorized immigrants.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - World

Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases

Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Spain exceeded 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Western Europe to hit the milestone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Spain, which reported 16,973 cases over the previous 24 hours, was one of the most affected countries when the pandemic started, and cases have been on the rise since September, according to NPR.

Oct 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did"

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) and other guests at the White House Rose Garden ceremony for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who was hospitalized with COVID-19, implored people in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday to wear masks "or you may regret it — as I did."

The big picture: Christie didn't wear a mask when he helped President Trump prepare for the first presidential debate nor during the White House Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett in September. "I let my guard down and left my mask off," Christie wrote in the WSJ article.